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Different Types of Commercial Fridges

Commercial refrigerators comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Here is a quick run-down of common types and nomenclature.

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It’s a “reach-in” because items are accessible at arm’s length while standing. The expression is applied to both fridges and freezers. They are usually general purpose, for example with bottle compartments and vegetable trays.

Reach-ins usually have solid doors. For shop-front use you will probably want glass doors or lids so customers can see your wares.

Dual Temperature

The home fridge freezer is a dual temperature appliance. Commercial ones allow finer control over temperatures in separate compartments, for example you might want a mild one for salad vegetables. Wine coolers sometimes have independent temperature zones so you can serve different wines appropriately.

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Pass-throughs are accessed from either side. Stood on a counter, customers have direct access but they can be re-stocked from behind.


These are shelved self-service refrigerators, often containing dispensers or other stacking aids.


This just means they fit conveniently beneath a kitchen worktop or counter.


These are intended to sit above a worktop or counter. Some refrigerators can be used in either location but others have specific features, for example swing doors on bottom compartments.


Not to be confused with the above, these are commercial refrigeration units with tops designed for pizza or sandwich preparation. They’re often on castors.

Bar Refrigeration

Bar coolers are for beer bottles, cans or wines, and may have solid or glass doors or even one of each. Direct Draw bar refrigeration is for beer kegs in the bar area, and hybrid units exist that combine both purposes.

Display Cases

There are a huge variety of refrigerated displays, so check out the range of a specialist supplier such as

They are strictly intended to advertise a product temporarily and not guaranteed to maintain shelf-life (sometimes displayed food isn’t intended for serving so access is restricted to staff). Low tabletop ones provide chilled areas for temporary display of sushi or tapas on its way to table. Large open-fronted, multi-shelved ones, chilled by an air-curtain, are likewise for short-term display of perishable goods with unsold items disposed of after a few hours. Download guidance about refrigerated food storage here:


Refrigerated walk-in pantries can be constructed in a huge range of sizes and temperature ranges.


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